Monday, April 4, 2011

Court Expunge Count Two in Golf Club, Journalist Trial

The Kanifing Magistrate Court has reduced from three to two, charges brought against four members of the Fajara Golf Club and a West coast Radio (WCR) Journalist, Bakary B. Baldeh on Thursday March 31, 2011.
The five accused persons were charge with three counts of “conspiracy to commit a felony”, “incitement to violence” and “prohibition of conduct to breach the peace”, before Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally.
On Thursday, the lower court decided to struck-out Count Two, “Incitement to Violence, Contrary to Section 59B (1) (b) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume 3 Laws of The Gambia 2009”. The particulars of offence stated that Lamin Drammeh, Lamin Tamba, Almamy Jagne, Bakary Njie and Bakary B. Baldeh; on or about the 11th February 2011 at Fajara and diverse places in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia; unlawfully without lawful excuse; make a statement through West Coast Radio implying the boycotting of the Baby Mariam Yahya Jammeh’s Golf Competition organized by the Gambia Golf Association in desirable to do so calculated to lead the destruction or damage to the game, association and or competition; thereby committed an offence.
The removal of the above charge followed an application by defence counsel Pap Cheyassin Secka, who argued that the charge is not known to law.
At this point, the court stands down and proceeded with two other cases, while the five accused persons where left standing in the box. At some point, one of the clerks pointed the seats to the accused persons for them to sit down but all seats where occupied already.
When the case resumes, the 1st prosecution witness Lady Njaimeh Jawara was called to open her testimony. The wife of former President Sir Dawda, a resident of Number 40 Atlantic Road, Fajara, and a Housewife said she recognizes the 1st, 3rd and 4th accused persons (Lamin Drammeh, Almamy Jagne and Bakary Njie).
She said she remembers April 12, 2011, a day she received a call from her son Ebrima Jawara while she was in the United Kingdom (UK), to inform her that His Excellency the President donated $40, 000 to organize a golf competition in honour of his daughter. She said Ebrima invited her to attend and she agreed.
She said after she returned to Gambia, she arranged with Ebrima for a training session at the Fajara Golf Course and when she arrived at the said place, she found that Ebrima was playing without a Caddy (an amateur golfer who carries the bag of a professional golfer).
And when she asked why, Ebrima told her that “it is a long story” and he will explain to her after the session. Ebrima decided to hire a young girl to Caddy for him anyway, while her official Caddy was with her.
She also explained that they did ask for a ground sweeper but no one among the Caddies was willing to do so and she sent for the Caddy Master (Bakary Njie) but he did not turn-up as well.
After the training session Ebrima told her that the Caddies were on strike and have been to WCR and insulted him. A small incident happened in which she was molested and insulted by the 1st accused (Lamin Drammeh). This arouse when she was trying to make peace with the caddies, she said.
She said in the process, she was angry and asked to be returned prayer mats she had earlier given to the Golf Course Mosque through Lamin Drammeh (Ebrima’s Caddy) at his request. She said while some of the Caddies pleaded with her near the mosque for her not to take the mats, Lamin Drammeh, who was approaching at the time told her “yes you can take the mats because you and your son are not Muslims”. 
According to her, she replied: “You consider yourself an Imam of this Mosque and you are saying these words and an Imam should not say these words”.
Still in her testimony, she told the Court that on Monday February 14, 2011, the of the Professional Golf Competition, Lamin Drammeh was arrested by plain cloth officials who she presume to belong to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and he was also banned not to Caddy till the problem was solved.
She said while the professionals were playing, the 1st Accused instructed all the Caddies to throw the bags of the professionals and leave the golf course ground. A call, she said all the Caddies paid heed to.
This “boy” said Ebrima is not a good boy and the sponsor, Yahya Jammeh, “we put him where he is, we voted for him”, she said referring to the 3rd accused Almamy Jagne. However, counsel Secka argued that Jagne is not a boy and should be addressed with due respect.
Lawyer Secka told her that Almamy Jagne is not a Caddy; rather he is the Accountant Manager of the Fajara Golf Club.
What was he doing among the Caddies then, the witness asked, before noting that she did not know that Almamy was holding such a position.
At this point, she said all the Caddies went out of the ground chanting Allahu Akhbar! Allahu Akhbar! She said told the Court that the Caddies came back insulting her but Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay advised her not to respond to them, an advice she adhered to.
Before the case was adjourned till April 12, 2011 at 1230GMT, Lady Njaimeh Jawara told the court that she is due to go for a medical treatment in the UK and will be away for at least six weeks. However, the Counsel told the court that he agreed with the prosecution to carry on with other witnesses while the 1st witness is away.
Meanwhile, the remaining charges include conspiracy to commit a felony and breach of the peace. Count One: Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, Contrary to Section 368 of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume III Laws of The Gambia. The particulars stated that Lamin Drammeh, Lamin Tamba, Almamy Jagne, Bakary Njie and Bakary B. Baldeh on or about the 11th of February, 2011 at Fajara and diverse places in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia; you jointly amongst others conspired to commit a felony to wit: incitement to violence; thereby committed an offence.
Count three which is now count two, reads: “Prohibition of Conduct to Breach of the Peace, Contrary to Section 9 of the Public Order Act Cap 22:01 Volume 4 Laws of The Gambia 2009”. The particulars stated that Lamin Drammeh, Lamin Tamba and Bakary Njie; on or about 12th February, 2011 at Fajara Golf in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia; you jointly and unlawfully while at the said place uttered abusive terms on the person of Lady Njaimeh Jawara in a manner likely to occasioned a breach; thereby committed an offence.
The accused persons have since pleaded not guilty to all charges and are being represented by counsels. The 1st and 2nd accused (Lamin Drammeh and Lamin Tamba) are being represented by counsel Kebba Sanyang; 3rd and 4th accused (Almamy Jagne and Bakary Njie) are being represented by Counsel Pap Cheyassin Secka; and the 5th accused (Bakary B. Baldeh) is represented by Counsel Lamin Camara. The prosecutor is Superintendent Camara.    

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